SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —  Three men who kidnapped and hid a busload of California schoolchildren in a 1976 ransom attempt have been eligible for parole for years — and now they have the support of the judge, prosecutors and investigators who handled their notorious case.

Their supporters held a rally in San Francisco on Wednesday to call for the release of Fred Woods and brothers Richard and Jim Schoenfeld.

The trio was convicted of abducting 26 children and their bus driver and hiding them underground in a rock quarry. The victims managed to escape after 36 hours, and none were seriously injured.

The men repeatedly have been denied parole since they were given life sentences in 1977.

Lawyers for Richard Schoenfeld filed a California Supreme Court petition Wednesday to get him another parole hearing.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (9)
  1. Cheese_Wonton says:

    What kind of sickness drives someone to advocae releasing filth like these kidnappers back into our society? What part of “life sentence” do these idiots not understand? Do these prosecutors and investigators not understand how much contempt they earn by acting this way? And what is wrong with a judge who, after hearing such a horrific case, now also advocates parole? Thise are not sane people, not at all. They are almost as vile as the kidnappers themselves.
    This is a fine example of why people dislike and distrust the government so much. I can’t yell “shame” loud enough.

  2. Mufon says:

    I was wondering the same thing, kidnapping 26 children and the driver and holding them underground for 36 hours? If that doesn’t merit life imprisonment, one of the few things short of murder, what does? It’d be interesting to see the grounds for the judge and prosecutors’ change of heart, as this article was rather scant. But on the face of it, I can’t think of much, if anything, which they did in prison with which would redeem themselves.

  3. Nico says:

    If this article is true the DA and Dets are plucking idiots

  4. CONCERNED says:

    i dont understand y there being released y do people want to release people like this into our society they must not have kids. THEY SHOULD NOT BE RELEASED Y SO THEY CAN DO IT AGAIN OMG Y????

  5. Just Saying says:

    Kidnapping kids
    life sentence times 26!

  6. duh says:

    Please read this rather in-depth and up-to-date article on the Chowchilla Kidnappings:

    Then come back and comment

    1. Mufon says:

      Okay, read it, doesn’t change anything.

      Unless you’re just trying to rack up hits on that article.

      1. duh says:

        It was provided for those who may not have understood the details of the case, nothing more. Debate, if it came to that, is always much better served with facts and knowledge. This was not your garden variety ‘career criminal’ kidnappings, but still, the lengths they went through to pull this off definitely inflicted terrorism on the victims. IMO, they should not be released anytime too soon. They eff’d up that badly. Really.

  7. ginny says:

    I can still remember this as if it was yesterday. It was a frightening and unbelieveable crime. As one of the young students said in the story on the link from Mufon, these 3 men left them to die. I for one want to see them stay right where they are till the end of their days. They didn’t just impact those students/driver, their families and the town of Chowchilla, but many more of us in this state.

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